Gluten Free Travel

In today's do-it-yourself world, many people don't see a need for help with planning a trip. They figure they can hop online and book something on their own. However, there are a few potential pitfalls with this strategy. Let's start with the most obvious: it can take a while to gather the information you need before making a decision. You may sit down at your computer, only to find that, hours later, you're overwhelmed with the choices and no further along in making a decision. Another pitfall is that booking hotels, resorts, and apartments site unseen can often result in disappointment, even if you read online reviews. And beware that deals that sound too good to be true usually are. A promotion from a reputable hotel chain to a popular tropical locale that was offered to my mother last year sounded like a great deal. However, upon further digging, we found out that it was in a less-than-desirable area of the popular resort town -- and the resort itself was under major renovation, with construction equipment everywhere. Good thing we did our research, because if we had booked this trip, it likely would have been a disaster. The whole experience... Read more →


Fortunately, over the past 10 years, it's gotten a bit easier to request a gluten free meal on an airline. I don't like to count on getting it -- or putting too much faith in the airline getting it completely right. So we always make sure our son packs a fair number of back-up snacks for the flight, especially if it's more than a couple hours long. (Plus, you never know when your flight may be delayed from taking off for several hours...that's happened to us twice...once by about 5 hours and once until the next day!) But it is nice when it all comes together and you can get a decent (and safely gluten free) meal on a plane. I always check the policy of the airline and then either put the notation in the system when booking the flight -- or call the airline directly to make the request. It doesn't hurt to do both -- and confirm about a week before the flight that they have the information correct. Here is a list (by no means exhaustive, I am sure) of some major airlines and their policies (or lack of) for offering gluten free meals, along with... Read more →


Some Celiac and gluten sensitive individuals get spooked thinking about travel. In fact, some of you may avoid travel at all costs. You may be concerned about the safety of meals you'll eat -- and have a hard time trusting that people who will be making your meals three times per day know what they are doing! Others of you may travel...but prefer to stick with domestic locales. To be sure, having a language barrier -- and being unsure of a country's knowledge of the intricacies of a gluten free diet -- can be daunting. While each one of us needs to work within our own comfort zone, I will say that there are so many resources available today to help ensure that you'll have a good chance of success staying gluten free almost anywhere you travel. Of course, it takes a bit of planning, but that's where you can also get help. Ellen Morse, who you have heard me talk about before, is a travel specialist with decades of experience planning trips for both domestic and international clients. Plus, she has been both gluten free AND dairy free herself since childhood. Here is someone who will take your concerns... Read more →


Although I have some ancestors from Sicily, I really don't know much about that part of Italy. My travels thus far have focused on what I call the "big three:" Rome, Florence, and Venice -- and a lovely week in the region of Umbria in central Italy. What I didn't know until recently is that Sicily is where the Italians themselves vacation! This is due to its wonderful climate, gorgeous beaches, and legendary food. In fact, Sicily is where Italy likely gets its reputation as a culinary dream. Since it has been at the geographical crossroads of so many different cultures over the millennia, it has blended influences into what most agree is exceptional cuisine. This is where southern Italian dishes that many American Italians grew up on originated. For example, "red gravy" (tomato sauce) has its origins here. And, as in most areas of Italy, you'll be able to find gluten free pasta offered as an option in many restaurants. Much of the food in Sicily is farm to table, so there is a freshness and quality that you don't always find in other locations. For gluten free travelers, Ellen Morse of Gluten Free Travel-Us makes it even easier... Read more →


Unless you're a skier, you might be surprised to hear that Switzerland makes a great destination ANY time of the year, even in the Winter. While Summer offers the most comfortable temperatures, it can also be the most crowded, with Summer tourism affecting popular sites (but, of course, that's no different than in other places in Europe!). You may want to consider a trip in the Fall or Spring, when the cooler weather is crisp but pleasant -- and you'll encounter fewer crowds. Of course, Winter sports enthusiasts will love the colder months when they can enjoy Alpine activities. And gluten free travelers will be thrilled to learn that travel agent Ellen Morse, who is Celiac herself and provides customized travel itineraries for gluten free travelers (as well as travelers without dietary restrictions), has recently created an itinerary for a 7-night trip to Switzerland. Please note: This is NOT a group tour. You can take this trip at any time you like and with whomever you like. The suggested itinerary, which Ellen can help you customize for your own specific interests, covers three perennial favorite spots: Zurich, Lucerne, and Interlaken. These towns will give you a true taste of Switzerland's... Read more →


You've heard me talk about Italy a lot on this Blog. It's both because it's my personal favorite destination...as well as one that seems to be on top of most people's travel lists. It's no wonder, given the beautiful scenery, fascinating history, and noteworthy art and architecture. And, oh, the food and wine isn't too bad either! Speaking of which, Italy also happens to be the most gluten-free friendly place our family has ever visited. Of course, I wouldn't recommend just booking a plane ticket and winging it! No, you really need to do your research before going if you want to have the optimal experience, especially when it comes to dining on the best gluten free specialties. Delicious (and safe) gluten free pizza, pasta, bruschetta, crepes, gelato, pastries, and more can be found in both the big cities -- and even in the smaller, quaint towns that are off-the-beaten-path. But you have to do your research on sites like our GlutenFreeTravelSite to find them. I also wrote an e-book, available on Amazon, called Gluten-Free in ITALY: Your Worry-Free and Gluten-Free Guide to Italy. It's perfect if you don't have much time to research or plan a trip yourself --... Read more →


Last week I posted about a tour of Puglia, Italy being organized by classically trained chef and yoga instructor Janice Veech (the "GoYogi Chef"), who is gluten free herself. Today I want to share another small group tour she is organizing in Italy. The dates for this Umbria small group tour to central Italy are October 12-19, 2019 (note the change of date from 2018 to 2019). Umbria is similar to Tuscany...full of rolling hills, medieval hilltop towns, vineyards, olive groves, and rich history. But it's still a bit less touristy than Tuscany has become. You'll enjoy a more "authentic" side of Italy, a far cry from the crowds of larger cities like Rome, Florence, and Venice. The itinerary is exactly the same as the tour I accompanied Janice on last October, and let me tell you, it was amazing...one of the best trips I've ever taken. (This photo of Janice and me in the hat, along with another lady from our group, was taken at the wall in Orvieto). Our trip was the perfect balance of history and a few tours, leisurely meals with local wines and wonderful food, and immersing ourselves in this less-traveled side of Italy. And... Read more →


What's better than planning a vacation to a dream destination where you'll be able to dine on fresh regional specialties -- all while staying safely gluten free? Having someone else do all the planning! That's what you have with this latest travel opportunity...a chance to visit Puglia, the sun-kissed heel of Italy, with all the details (including gluten free meals) planned for you! And this someone else isn't just anyone. It's Janice Veech, a.k.a. the "Go Yogi Chef," a classically trained chef and yoga teacher who is gluten free herself. Janice has made it her mission to plan spectacular trips where her fellow travelers can tap into the energy and authentic vibe of the region while enjoying its history, beauty, and culinary specialties. She ensures arrangements are made with restaurants in advance if any gluten free adaptations are needed for the meals. (Both gluten free and non-GF guests are welcome on her tours.) Unlike large group tours where you are served a pre-selected meal, this trip gives each guest the ability to order off the menu for each meal, selecting favorite items. Puglia is especially known for its fresh seafood, abundant vegetables, and, of course, a range of wonderful regional... Read more →


Have you heard of GliadinX? I can’t remember where and when I’d first heard about it, but the developer of this unique enzyme formulation contacted me recently, and I was intrigued to learn more. Like with many products and services, necessity was the mother of invention with GliadinX. Founder Dr. Albert Zickmann has two children diagnosed with celiac disease, and he was concerned about cross contamination and accidental gluten exposure when dining out, traveling, and sending his kids to birthday parties and camps. Having a medical background himself, he began researching studies on enzymes that digest gliadin (the damaging component of gluten) in the stomach. Dr. Zickmann took an extensively researched enzyme proven to break down gluten in clinical and laboratory studies and combined it with a food grade acid to further increase the efficacy of the enzyme. Essentially, this combination breaks down the gliadin molecule, cutting it into harmless fragments before the gluten can cause an inflammatory reaction in the small intestine. Let me stress that this is not a product that is intended to replace a strict gluten free diet, as it states explicitly on the bottle. It is for times when you suspect cross contamination may be... Read more →


Have you ever dreamed of visiting the Greek Islands and actually standing atop this hill you see in so many photographs? Would you love to tour the Acropolis in Athens and marvel at the Parthenon? What about meandering among the ancient ruins on an uninhabited island full of archaeological treasures? If these things have been on your own Bucket List, it's no wonder. Greece has always been a favorite destination -- for all these reasons. In addition to the natural beauty that surrounds you and the amazing history and architectural wonders, Greece's citizens are so warm and hospitable. Ellen Morse of Gluten Free Travel-Us (and gluten free for decades herself) recently had some gluten free clients request an itinerary for Greece, and based on the success in setting up the trip, she is offering a similar itinerary to other clients. Of course, as with any of Ellen's itineraries, you are the "captain of your own boat" and can tailor it to your interests and desired length of stay. And because it is NOT a group tour, you can take it any time of the year (although Ellen highly recommends April through October as being ideal). This particular itinerary hits on... Read more →


Many of you are familiar with my Gluten-Free in ITALY e-book, available on Amazon. In it, I give advice on finding the best spots dining gluten free in Rome, Florence, and Venice (yes, there is amazing gluten free pizza and pasta to be safely enjoyed, but you need to know where to go!). Just a few months ago, I added a section on Umbria, the “landlocked” region of central Italy bordering Tuscany to the southeast. It was here that I was fortunate to experience a less touristy side of Italy…medieval towns, rolling hills, historical sites dating back to Roman and Etruscan eras, important religious sites, vineyards and olive oil producers, and wonderfully simple and fresh Italian culinary specialties. Unlike our family’s previous trip to Italy, which we did on our own after having help from fantastic (and gluten free) travel agent Ellen Morse of Gluten Free Travel-Us, this trip to Umbria was with a small group. A college friend and I traveled with Bluone Tours, a “boutique” travel company specializing in small group tours of the many regions of Italy. While their focus is on the food and wine of the different regions, their tours encompass so much more. For... Read more →


Multi-generational travel has become increasingly popular in recent years, and cruise ships provide the perfect venue for bringing travelers of all ages together. In fact, it's something to consider for a family reunion! Let's face it, it's hard to please every traveler on a trip, but cruise ships sure come close. There's really something for everyone, whether you like relaxing by the pool, trying out a zip line or simulated surfing, scheduling a spa visit or time in the gym, hanging out in the casino, taking in the entertainment on board, heading to the teen center, or playing mini golf. And the ports of call offer a range of options for differing tastes as well. Plus, on a cruise ship you have the option of spending some time together -- and some apart. Best of all, there are dining options for every taste, and cruise ships typically offer plenty of choices for gluten free folks -- and even travelers with other dietary restrictions. The post below was reprinted with permission from Travel Leaders agency, where one of our favorite gluten free travel specialists works. Lesley Hayden-Hock, reachable at 800-487-6110 or Lhayden@travelleaders.com, knows the best cruise lines for gluten free dining... Read more →